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Nationwide: Villeneuve denied home win

Fellows, Allgaier and Busch all pitted soon after just before second place when a third yellow came out, caused for a second time by Dexter Stacy who this time had managed to hit the wall which required an unusually lengthy caution period. In fact most of the cautions at Montreal were oddly protracted on Saturday, which during the middle part of the race perfectly suited those drivers on two-stop strategies desperately trying to stretch their fuel all the way to the finish.

The restart finally came on lap 38, and all eyes were on Patrick and Villeneuve on the front row to see whether their would be any continuation of their feud that had started when Villeneuve punted Patrick off the track near the end of the Nationwide race at Road America in June, the last time the two drivers had competed head-to-head in the series. But for now at least it seemed that Villeneuve had learned from the torrent of criticism he'd received for that incident, and he politely slipped into second place as Danica once again pulled off a picture-perfect restart around the outside of turn 1.

However there was a nasty surprise awaiting Patrick a few corners later: a spectator had thrown a sports shoe over the fencing, and it had landed right on the racing line. Patrick, as race leader, was first to encounter it and the #7 ran right over it. At first it seemed the incident had done no harm, but within minutes Patrick was complaining that the steering on the car was shot and in-car pictures showed her having to saw away at the wheel even doing the straights.

Whether it was the shoe that had caused the problem or a pre-existing condition with the left rear axle from hitting the curbing too hard in earlier practice and qualifying session, something was clearly badly wrong as TV pictures captured a crucial bracket cropped off the underside of the car. Patrick tried to tough it out but finally had to come into the garage for investigation and repairs that put her six laps down and out of contention, despite having put in 20 laps in the lead and looking one of the two favourites for the win along with arch nemesis Villeneuve.

"I just can't believe the amount of bad luck we've had," signed Patrick in pit road. "How disappointing is it? We're bound to catch some good luck some time."

A debris caution on lap 46 was again slightly too early for comfort for drivers hoping to make it home from here without any further pit stops, but they were encouraged by how long it was taking to clear up after each caution and so Villeneuve committed to exactly that strategy and came in for his final visit to pit road of the day. That left Elliott Sadler in charge of the race for the restart alongside Andrew Ranger, with Justin Allgaier, Mike Wallace and Kyle Kelley close behind.

Sadler was only in charge for four laps before he followed his strict pit stop strategy and came in under green for his own final visit to pit road along with Allgaier. That put Villeneuve right back in front again, with Kyle Busch once more popping into second place briefly before his own off-sync final pit stop on lap 58 just a lap before the fifth caution of the day for Jason Bowles spinning into a deep gravel trap.

Even those who were frankly on the wrong side of the fuel conservation odds weren't inclined to pit now and instead let their stake ride on their current gambit. They were rewarded by another interminably long period behind the safety car that allowed Villeneuve to start cutting off the engine and coast down the straights to get the maximum mileage he possibly could out of the #22.

Finally on lap 63, Villeneuve and Hornish Jr. led the field to the green flag: but it was third-placed man Alex Tagliani who had the jump on them both, flying past Villeneuve for the lead while further back Hornish ended up on the receiving end of a wheel-hopping Michael McDowell and barged off the track with rear-end bodywork damage. Hornish wasted no time in rejoining the track but he'd lost multiple positions in the process and was now down in 23rd place.

Amazingly there was no caution, nor was there for each of the next three laps that saw some incident or other: on lap 64 it was Danica Patrick's wounded car getting topped into a spin by Kyle Kelley that caught up first Mike Wallace and then the hapless Hornish in a slow-speed multicar pileup. Then on lap 65 Ron Fellows went for a spin after making contact with Kyle Busch: Busch had seen an opening down the inside of a long left-hander and gone for it, and Fellows hadn't been expecting it and ended up turning in on the #54 and getting the worst of the deal. In all cases, the cars involved were able to regroup and continue.




Related Pictures

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Coors Light Pole sitter Alex Tagliani leads the NASCAR Nationwide Series field to start the NAPA 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Justin Allgaier crosses the finish line to win the NAPA 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 TaxAct Chevrolet SS, finishes in 7th place Sunday, March 29, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS, finishes in sixth place Sunday, March 29, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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Crew members work on the #25 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, driven by Chase Elliott, after being involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the #17 Fastenal Ford, is involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS, qualifies for third position Friday, March 27, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. Truex, Jr. is third in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott (left) congratulates his son Chase Elliott, driver of the #25 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet, after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 27, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. This will mark Chase Elliott`s first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start.  (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 27, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #25 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 27, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
Brian Vickers, driver of the Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota, answers questions from media during a press conference before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 22, 2015 in Fontana, California. Vickers was forced to withdraw from competition due to blood clots. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, leads the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 22, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS finishes in sixth place and Paul Menard, driver of the #27 FVP/Menards Chevrolet SS finishes in fourth place Sunday, March 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS finishes in eighth place Sunday, March 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS finishes in third place and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS finishes in second place Sunday, March 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, races during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Drive4Clots.com 300 at Auto Club Speedway on March 21, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 21, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Jeff Gross/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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SP3 - Unregistered

August 19, 2012 5:58 PM

@Gazza, jv got what he gave out. As long as nascrap continues allow (promote) retarded 'pro wrestling' type of entertainment, this is what their 'racing' will be like.



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